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James Farr - Locke, Natural Law, and New World Slavery | JSTOR: Political Theory, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Aug., 2008), pp. 495-522
This essay systematically reformulates an earlier argument about Locke and new world slavery, adding attention to Indians, natural law, and Locke's reception. Locke followed Grotian natural law in constructing a just-war theory of slavery. Unlike Grotius, though, he severely restricted the theory, making it inapplicable to America. It only fit resistance to "absolute power" in Stuart England. Locke was nonetheless an agent of British colonialism who issued instructions governing slavery. Yet they do not inform his theory--or vice versa. This creates hermeneutical problems and raises charges of racism. If Locke deserves the epithet "racist," it is not for his having a racial doctrine justifying slavery. None of this makes for a flattering portrait. Locke's reputation as the champion of liberty would not survive the contradictions in which new world slavery ensnared him. Evidence for this may be found in Locke's reception, including by Southern apologists for slavery.
article  jstor  intellectual_history  political_philosophy  moral_philosophy  17thC  British_history  colonialism  American_colonies  West_Indies  indigenous_peoples  Native_Americans  Africa  slavery  Locke  Grotius  natural_law  just_war  conquest  liberty  individualism  liberalism  Southern_states  abolition  bibliography  downloaded  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader

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